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Vegan Buttermilk Substitute Recipe: A Tasty Non-Dairy Replacement!


Participating in a vegan diet and lifestyle and still being an avid baker might seem like a bit of an oxymoron. However, there are loads of ways to incorporate dairy-free ingredients to make some of the tastiest cakes and desserts you’ve ever tried.

Finding the right substitutions for your favorite dairy-based baking ingredients might seem like an enormous task at first, but with a little understanding of how different non-dairy products work together, you too can become a master vegan baker in no time.

Below, we’re going to look at one of my favorite ingredients for everything from red velvet cake to pancakes and even non-chicken fried chicken!

Even if you’ve never cooked or baked with buttermilk before, this homemade buttermilk replacement will transform your kitchen into a delicious vegan wonderland. Everyone will want the recipe, and nobody will believe it’s non-dairy.

What’s even better is that this dairy-free replacement for buttermilk uses just two everyday ingredients and takes two minutes to prepare… So you can almost instantly make your own buttermilk without using a single animal product!

What is Buttermilk? 

Before I share my recipe for the best vegan buttermilk substitute you’ve ever tasted (that’s also unbelievably quick and easy), let’s take a second to consider what buttermilk actually is and what it’s used for.

Traditionally, buttermilk is simply a by-product of butter making. As the cream was churned into butter, the remaining liquid was left to ferment. During this process, the milk sugars convert into lactic acid, allowing buttermilk to last longer without refrigeration than regular milk.

These days, buttermilk is made with pasteurized, fresh milk. It’s then treated with lactic acid bacteria to cultivate a rich ingredient with a distinctively tangy flavor.

Buttermilk has a thicker texture than regular milk while remaining lighter than cream. It’s used in sweet and savory recipes, from biscuits to fried chicken, and can even be used in dips, dressings, cakes, and bread.

Buttermilk isn’t just chosen for its flavor and texture. The acidity of buttermilk provides leavening power when it reacts with baking soda and breaks down gluten when baking, providing a tender and moister final product that always impresses.

Because of the complexity and specific benefits that buttermilk adds to a recipe, creating a vegan substitution might seem like a complicated process. After all, the end result needs to have the right consistency, the right balance of acidity, and the right flavor.

But while it sounds like a tricky ingredient to substitute, combining plant-based milk (I tend to use soy because it has the closest consistency to cow’s milk, but you can use any non-dairy milk) and lemon juice creates fantastic vegan buttermilk that tastes and behaves just like the real thing!

Calories: 105

Fat: 4g

Carbohydrates: 9.5g

Fiber: 1g

Protein: 7g

    How to Make Vegan Buttermilk: FAQs

    I bet you didn’t think it was this easy to make your own vegan replacement for buttermilk! If you’re not entirely convinced, I highly recommend you give this recipe a try. 

    I want you to be as confident in the kitchen as possible, so you too can enjoy a plethora of tasty vegan desserts and dishes without feeling like you’re missing out. 

    Can almond milk be used to make buttermilk?

    Absolutely! Vegan almond buttermilk is delicious and works just as well as soy buttermilk in a range of recipes. 

    In fact, any plant-based milk can create a delicious buttermilk alternative in most recipes. The added benefits of oat milk, in particular, create an excellent vegan alternative to buttermilk. 

    It is worth noting that some dairy-free milk options might not achieve the curdling effects required for a dairy-free buttermilk substitute. Coconut milk, for example, doesn’t tend to curdle as well as other options. 

    Do I need fresh lemons to make buttermilk? 

    If you don’t have any fresh lemons to squeeze the juice out of for this vegan buttermilk recipe, then don’t worry! You can substitute lemon juice for apple cider vinegar or white vinegar in this recipe. You don’t even need to change the amounts – 1 tbsp of vinegar will directly substitute for 1 tbsp of lemon juice.  

    What can you use in place of buttermilk in a recipe?

    If you’re experimenting with tasty vegan recipes but don’t feel confident making your own non-dairy buttermilk substitution, then you could try using an alternative ingredient, such as: 

    •  Vegan sour cream
    •  Vegan yogurt
    •  Tofu
    •  Homemade nut cream
    •  Cream of tartar

    There are loads of things you can use as a non-dairy buttermilk substitution in baking or cooking. I recommend experimenting with a few options to find the non-dairy substitutions that work best for you. 

    How long does homemade vegan buttermilk last?

    As a guideline, you can store your homemade buttermilk replacement in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. However, this may vary depending on the longevity of the plant-based milk you’ve chosen: if your preferred milk substitution lasts longer, then so will your vegan buttermilk. 

    Can you freeze vegan buttermilk?

    This homemade vegan buttermilk substitute can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months, so it’s a great idea to make a batch and store it for future recipes.

    I really like to make vegan buttermilk in batches and pour the mixture into an ice cube tray. This way, I have pre-portioned buttermilk servings that I can quickly defrost in the refrigerator the night before and throw into my next vegan bakery project.

    Although freezing this buttermilk substitute won’t harm it, it is worth remembering that this buttermilk recipe is designed with baking or cooking in mind. It won’t be so tasty as a drink or for use in uncooked recipes once frozen.  

    How do you substitute non-dairy for buttermilk?

    Using a non-dairy buttermilk substitute in baking or cooking is really easy! Simply sub in your vegan buttermilk cup-for-cup in pretty much any recipe for tasty non-dairy dishes that the whole family will love. 

    Final Thoughts

    I can’t get over how straightforward it is to make tasty homemade vegan buttermilk with this recipe. Not only does it take just two everyday ingredients and two steps, but this recipe is 100% free from any animal products, so you can enjoy it utterly guilt-free in a vast range of dishes and desserts.

    My favorite thing to make with this non-dairy buttermilk is by far a delicious red velvet cake. The chocolate and buttercream frosting characteristic of a red velvet cake certainly doesn’t suggest vegan-friendly. However, with this unbelievably simple vegan buttermilk recipe, I can whip up a decadent cake with all the creaminess and deliciousness that you’d expect! 

    Once you learn how to make vegan buttermilk, you’ll never look back.

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